Bill Heard Enterprises, struggling with financial issues after GMAC cut off its inventory credit line last month, closed its Scottsdale, Ariz, store late Friday. "Adverse economic conditions, high gasoline prices and unfavorable product mix at the dealership combined to present an unsustainable business environment in this market," the company stated as the reasons for shutting down a new store that has been opened for about a year.
The 150 Arizona employees were told of the decision to close the Scottsdale dealership Friday afternoon. The store closing is immediate. The Arizona closure does not impact any of Bill Heard Enterprises five stores in Georgia, including the flagship operation in Columbus. Bill Heard Enterprises, now with 13 dealerships scattered from Georgia to Las Vegas, has been battling difficult economic times for about a year. The financial problems worsened three weeks ago when GMAC, which financed the inventory at the majority of the dealerships, cut off credit to the company, the Ledger-Enquirer was told by a Bill Heard Enterprises spokesman.
"We recognize the adverse impact that this will have on employees and others in the community and extend our best wishes to them they seek employment," the company said in a prepared statement issued about 7:30 p.m. "We appreciate the support that the community has provided to us."
It is part of a larger plan to restructure the business, the company's statement read.
"We are working to secure financing, increase our efficiency and productivity, tap the emerging fuel-conscious market with an appropriate product mix, and reduce our already competitive cost structure," the statement read. "We are making progress and look forward to serving the markets in which we continue operate for many years to come."
Bill Heard Enterprises was the nation¹s largest Chevrolet dealer for more than two decades, earning the title "Mr. Big Volume."
In a rare interview in late July, Bill Heard Jr. identified three reasons his company is struggling:
Bill Heard Enterprises didn't react fast enough to the economic downturn.
It is Chevrolet-exclusive.
Banks tightened requirements to grant buyers loans.